Ice out on Rainy Lake occurred on April 28, you can travel from International Falls to Kettle Falls unimpeded by the ice. Even before the ice was out though, there was plenty of open water on the Lake and anglers have been out trying for crappie and northern pike. The crappie bite has been slow, but will pick up as water temperatures warm. Northern Pike have been more active and there are some pretty large northern to be caught in Rainy.
Meanwhile, the focus of Rainy River fishing has been the sturgeon tag season which will close on May 7th. Catch and release will be allowed for one week after that and then sturgeon fishing closes until June 30. Another tag season will open July 1. During the tag seasons, you can only keep a sturgeon between 45 and 50 inches inclusive, or over 75 inches. You are allowed to keep only one sturgeon in a calendar year. To try for one of these huge fish, string a gob of worms onto your hook and use a sinker heavy enough to get your bait just off the bottom. River anglers also say they are pulling in smallmouth bass from the shallower areas on the edges of the current
Although the most popular fishing for now has been in the Rainy River, the Lake is pretty much open and some folks have been trying for record northern pike. Some have been successful. There’s no doubt the ice will be off the Lake and the water temperatures rising by the time the walleye opener arrives May 9th. Local guides say you can expect good fishing from the opener into June as the water temperatures rise and then moderate
The extended walleye season on the border waters has now closed and anglers are waiting for the sturgeon tag season to start on April 24th. Sturgeon fishing is a catch-and-release sport for now,k but once open, you can tag one huge sturgeon (45-50 inches inclusive or over 75 inches.) per year.
There are signs of spring all around with some plants shoving out shoots to greet the warming temperatures. Ice on Rainy Lake is not expected to last a week, so you should be able to motor around as you wish for the walleye opener on May 9th